Young infants expect an unfamiliar adult to comfort a crying baby: Evidence from a standard violation-of-expectation task and a novel infant-triggered-video task

Kyong sun Jin, Jessica L. Houston, Renee L Baillargeon, Ashley M. Groh, Glenn I. Roisman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Do infants expect individuals to act prosocially toward others in need, at least in some contexts? Very few such expectations have been uncovered to date. In three experiments, we examined whether infants would expect an adult alone in a scene with a crying baby to attempt to comfort the baby. In the first two experiments, 12- and 4-month-olds were tested using the standard violation-of-expectation method. Infants saw videotaped events in which a woman was performing a household chore when a baby nearby began to cry; the woman either comforted (comfort event) or ignored (ignore event) the baby. Infants looked significantly longer at the ignore than at the comfort event, and this effect was eliminated if the baby laughed instead of cried. In the third experiment, 8-month-olds were tested using a novel forced-choice violation-of-expectation method, the infant-triggered-video method. Infants faced two computer monitors and were first shown that touching the monitors triggered events: One monitor presented the comfort event and the other monitor presented the ignore event. Infants then chose which event they wanted to watch again by touching the corresponding monitor. Infants significantly chose the ignore over the comfort event, and this effect was eliminated if the baby laughed. Thus, across ages and methods, infants provided converging evidence that they expected the adult to comfort the crying baby. These results indicate that expectations about individuals’ actions toward others in need are already present in the first year of life, and, as such, they constrain theoretical accounts of early prosociality and morality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalCognitive Psychology
Volume102
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2018

Fingerprint

Crying
baby
infant
video
event
Computer monitors
evidence
Experiments
experiment
morality

Keywords

  • Crying baby
  • Expectations about comforting actions
  • Infancy
  • Prosociality
  • Social cognition
  • Violation-of-expectation methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence

Cite this

Young infants expect an unfamiliar adult to comfort a crying baby : Evidence from a standard violation-of-expectation task and a novel infant-triggered-video task. / Jin, Kyong sun; Houston, Jessica L.; Baillargeon, Renee L; Groh, Ashley M.; Roisman, Glenn I.

In: Cognitive Psychology, Vol. 102, 05.2018, p. 1-20.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{9de96e10ac1f48cb80b16974e201d210,
title = "Young infants expect an unfamiliar adult to comfort a crying baby: Evidence from a standard violation-of-expectation task and a novel infant-triggered-video task",
abstract = "Do infants expect individuals to act prosocially toward others in need, at least in some contexts? Very few such expectations have been uncovered to date. In three experiments, we examined whether infants would expect an adult alone in a scene with a crying baby to attempt to comfort the baby. In the first two experiments, 12- and 4-month-olds were tested using the standard violation-of-expectation method. Infants saw videotaped events in which a woman was performing a household chore when a baby nearby began to cry; the woman either comforted (comfort event) or ignored (ignore event) the baby. Infants looked significantly longer at the ignore than at the comfort event, and this effect was eliminated if the baby laughed instead of cried. In the third experiment, 8-month-olds were tested using a novel forced-choice violation-of-expectation method, the infant-triggered-video method. Infants faced two computer monitors and were first shown that touching the monitors triggered events: One monitor presented the comfort event and the other monitor presented the ignore event. Infants then chose which event they wanted to watch again by touching the corresponding monitor. Infants significantly chose the ignore over the comfort event, and this effect was eliminated if the baby laughed. Thus, across ages and methods, infants provided converging evidence that they expected the adult to comfort the crying baby. These results indicate that expectations about individuals’ actions toward others in need are already present in the first year of life, and, as such, they constrain theoretical accounts of early prosociality and morality.",
keywords = "Crying baby, Expectations about comforting actions, Infancy, Prosociality, Social cognition, Violation-of-expectation methods",
author = "Jin, {Kyong sun} and Houston, {Jessica L.} and Baillargeon, {Renee L} and Groh, {Ashley M.} and Roisman, {Glenn I.}",
year = "2018",
month = "5",
doi = "10.1016/j.cogpsych.2017.12.004",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "102",
pages = "1--20",
journal = "Cognitive Psychology",
issn = "0010-0285",
publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Young infants expect an unfamiliar adult to comfort a crying baby

T2 - Evidence from a standard violation-of-expectation task and a novel infant-triggered-video task

AU - Jin, Kyong sun

AU - Houston, Jessica L.

AU - Baillargeon, Renee L

AU - Groh, Ashley M.

AU - Roisman, Glenn I.

PY - 2018/5

Y1 - 2018/5

N2 - Do infants expect individuals to act prosocially toward others in need, at least in some contexts? Very few such expectations have been uncovered to date. In three experiments, we examined whether infants would expect an adult alone in a scene with a crying baby to attempt to comfort the baby. In the first two experiments, 12- and 4-month-olds were tested using the standard violation-of-expectation method. Infants saw videotaped events in which a woman was performing a household chore when a baby nearby began to cry; the woman either comforted (comfort event) or ignored (ignore event) the baby. Infants looked significantly longer at the ignore than at the comfort event, and this effect was eliminated if the baby laughed instead of cried. In the third experiment, 8-month-olds were tested using a novel forced-choice violation-of-expectation method, the infant-triggered-video method. Infants faced two computer monitors and were first shown that touching the monitors triggered events: One monitor presented the comfort event and the other monitor presented the ignore event. Infants then chose which event they wanted to watch again by touching the corresponding monitor. Infants significantly chose the ignore over the comfort event, and this effect was eliminated if the baby laughed. Thus, across ages and methods, infants provided converging evidence that they expected the adult to comfort the crying baby. These results indicate that expectations about individuals’ actions toward others in need are already present in the first year of life, and, as such, they constrain theoretical accounts of early prosociality and morality.

AB - Do infants expect individuals to act prosocially toward others in need, at least in some contexts? Very few such expectations have been uncovered to date. In three experiments, we examined whether infants would expect an adult alone in a scene with a crying baby to attempt to comfort the baby. In the first two experiments, 12- and 4-month-olds were tested using the standard violation-of-expectation method. Infants saw videotaped events in which a woman was performing a household chore when a baby nearby began to cry; the woman either comforted (comfort event) or ignored (ignore event) the baby. Infants looked significantly longer at the ignore than at the comfort event, and this effect was eliminated if the baby laughed instead of cried. In the third experiment, 8-month-olds were tested using a novel forced-choice violation-of-expectation method, the infant-triggered-video method. Infants faced two computer monitors and were first shown that touching the monitors triggered events: One monitor presented the comfort event and the other monitor presented the ignore event. Infants then chose which event they wanted to watch again by touching the corresponding monitor. Infants significantly chose the ignore over the comfort event, and this effect was eliminated if the baby laughed. Thus, across ages and methods, infants provided converging evidence that they expected the adult to comfort the crying baby. These results indicate that expectations about individuals’ actions toward others in need are already present in the first year of life, and, as such, they constrain theoretical accounts of early prosociality and morality.

KW - Crying baby

KW - Expectations about comforting actions

KW - Infancy

KW - Prosociality

KW - Social cognition

KW - Violation-of-expectation methods

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85043776886&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85043776886&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.cogpsych.2017.12.004

DO - 10.1016/j.cogpsych.2017.12.004

M3 - Article

C2 - 29310002

AN - SCOPUS:85043776886

VL - 102

SP - 1

EP - 20

JO - Cognitive Psychology

JF - Cognitive Psychology

SN - 0010-0285

ER -